President Joseph I. Castro today invited the California State University, Fresno faculty and staff to join him in shaping the future by embracing the latest technological tools, building a sense of well-being and community and, most importantly, enhancing student success.

In his first speech to the campus community at the annual Faculty/Staff Fall Assembly to kick off the school year, Castro asked employees, “Will you join me as we shape the future of Fresno State and Central California? I hope you will, because I believe that if we work together, we have the power to propel this great university to new heights.”

Castro said he believes the future is bright for Fresno State – “if we are willing to be proactive, creative, collaborative, strategic – and yes – bold.”

He took office on Aug. 1, following the 22-year presidency of Dr. John D. Welty. Castro honored Welty, calling him “one of the finest leaders ever to serve in the California State University system.”

After briefly sharing his journey from his hometown Hanford to Fresno State, Castro said: “I stand here today honored, humbled and thrilled to join you as the eighth president of California State University, Fresno.”

Just 19 days into his presidency, Castro said it is premature to have a comprehensive plan for moving the university forward. But, he said, he has many ideas, which he framed as questions to the audience:

  • “Will you join me in embracing the latest technology for 21st century teaching in order to effectively engage the complex, evolving learning styles of today’s students?” Castro said he wants the university to explore the idea of getting computer tablets into the hands of all students for academic uses.
  • “Will you join me in honest communications?” Castro said he wants feedback from students, faculty, staff and Valley residents about what they love about Fresno State and areas they think need improvement. He said people can offer their anonymous comments, which will be published later, at He also asked faculty and staff to connect via Twitter with him and with students, who are “digital natives.”
  • “Will you join me in raising awareness of the university and all the fabulous people and programs here?” Castro asked faculty and staff to be university advocates and ambassadors.
  • “Will you join me in considering new programs that will provide innovations to help students learn, achieve and graduate?” Castro said student success, which he defines as timely completion of coursework and graduation, must always be the focus of university employees. He said much work and success has occurred in this area in recent years, but more is needed.

Castro introduced his wife Mary, who he said is eager to get to know faculty, staff and students and be involved in Fresno State and community activities. The Castros were featured in a video that was shown to the assembly.

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